Take Charge of Your Career Story with a Compelling Cover Letter

By Tracy Vistine on September 29, 2014 Job SearchConsulting

We’ve all heard the saying that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. In reality, however, opinions are influenced heavily by our first impressions. In the case of a job application, the recruiter’s or hiring manager’s initial reaction can make the difference between getting an interview or being passed over. A well-crafted cover letter is the perfect tool for shaping those first impressions.

A cover letter gives you the chance to tell your career story in your own voice, connecting the dots between the experiences shown on your resume and the skills required for the job at hand. Use your cover letter to highlight parts of your resume that support the story you want to tell; don’t just rehash what’s in your resume.

Your cover letter should make it easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to read between the lines of your resume and realize why you’re the right person for the job. For example, if you are applying for a management position but have no prior management experience, showcase times when you have excelled in various roles on a project team or assumed other kinds of leadership positions.

If you are trying to change industries or careers, the cover letter becomes especially important. Your letter should shine a spotlight on your career goals and why this job will help you achieve them. You should also point to the specific experiences or capabilities that will allow you to bring a fresh perspective to the company and quickly work your way up the learning curve.

The first step in crafting a good cover letter is to take the time to thoroughly read and understand the job description, as well as any information you can gather about the company. Then, in your letter you should address the specific job requirements and explain why you have what it takes to excel in the position.

Don’t underestimate the power of a good story to move people. When hiring managers are faced with a sea of applications that all blend together, a well-written cover letter can go a long way in putting you at the top of the interview list.

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Tracy Vistine

Tracy Vistine

Tracy Vistine brings more than 10 years of experience in recruiting and staffing to her role as director of recruiting for the Messina Group. Tracy joined the firm in 2005, and under her recruiting direction, Messina’s Financial Temps group has consistently provided clients with proven financial and accounting talent for their staffing and consulting needs. Before joining Messina, Tracy worked as a recruiting specialist for a Wall Street-based financial services firm. As an expert in sourcing, managing, and placing top-notch candidates, Tracy is passionate about connecting qualified talent with the right employment opportunity. Tracy is passionate about spending time with her family, traveling and reading.

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